On The Importance Of Notebooks…

…at least for me.

I come up with some pretty kickin’ ideas sometimes. Plot ideas/ twists, characters and their foibles, settings and the details thereof; all-in-all some pretty solid, workable ideas. Then I write them down- immediately, either in the pocket notebook I habitually carry with me or on any nearby piece of paper that I deem as “scrap.”

“Sorry, Mr. Supervisor, I didn’t realize that THOSE were my written instructions for this job. But you see, I had this idea for the book I’m writing and if i didn’t get it down on paper…

“,,,yes, I’ll print up another copy right away.”

For you see, I have a problem. It is called “ADOS”

Attention Deficit- Oooo Shiny!

It’s why I keep a little notebook with me at all times. In case you are wondering, I sometimes DO write out notes on job paperwork. Hey, it has a blank side!

From there it usually goes into my pocket notebook or my reporters’ notebook and into the project notebook. These are real gems with hard covers and spaced lines. they might be hard to come across but they are the best when compiling ideas for a novel. Or at least keeping them within ninety pages of one another. Yes, I do realize that this system is not very efficient due to the multiple times of rewriting the same notes/ ideas/  scribbles but it is a system (in a loose sense of the word).

Since when were creative types shackled by “systems’ anyway? *defiantly crosses arms- humph!*

So I want to ask the readers of this piece, “How do you hold on to and organize idea?” I can’t be the only person that has five or six notebooks and a folder stuffed with ideas for an ongoing project.

Seriously, am I the only one?

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Meh… So I Didn’t Win NaNo (this year)

Yeah, I didn’t win. Oh Well, It wasn’t for lack of trying.

Things were going along rather well, or so I thought and then I found what I thought was a major plot-hole. This resulted in much frustration (temporarily). Not good. So I had a choice to make.

Rewrite what I had done and fix the issue (and I had at the time a good idea as how to fix it) or, push ahead and fix things on the second time around.

anime tired

What I did was probably wrong, but I went back to fix this issue at hand.

Ya see, here’s the thing; what I was thinking was that if I didn’t correct that was wrong I would have to go back and fix a great deal more of the novel because of how a character that was supposed to be minor became more and more involved with the primary plot arc. I’m still making corrections, but things are beginning to flow again.

I know, I know… The best advice is to keep going and edit later. Keep the creativity flowing and you will come up with your best ideas. At least that is my take away from Kristen Lamb’s blog. But, ya know, I felt “ya gotta do, what ya gotta do.”

Such is the problems of writing in stream of consciousness. I wonder if Faulkner had this issue?

How did anybody else ever fix a plot hole? Do you do a complete first draft even though you know it will take a “strip it it the bottom floor rewrite”? Do you go on and finish anyway? Let me know, I’m really interested in learning how others tackle this problem.

NaNo Update the Fifth

Progress!

Yes as it has worked out today, I have worked through a potentially  catastrophic spot where I seemed at first to have written myself into a corner. But as it turns out…

 

I took a North of the Fox in a slightly new direction that has added depth to the novel and developed the protagonist now  more fully. Through it all I wrote nearly three thousand words. I’m still managing to keep everything on plan.

I love it when things work out for the best. Bwa Ha Ha Ha

Tomorrow if all goes well I should be up at a decent time, say about 8:00 and soon after banging on these drums all day um I mean this keyboard for a few hours.

One huge help for me personally has been Kristen Lamb‘s blog. Thanks Kristen for the inspirational advice!

And a huge thanks to NaNoWriMo and the writing pep talks the organization had been providing.

I hope all is going well with Aether House  (and her novel Figments!),  my official writing buddy and another source of inspiration.

My Goal for tomorrow is to have 10 to 11 thousand words done in total. We will have to see how far I get but my fingers are crossed.

 

 

On Receiving Some Advice

I came across the wonderful blog of author Kristen Lamb a few weeks ago. For me her blog is absolutely filled with great advice for writers. But this post I found especially helpful because it challenged me to take a hard look at myself and my life. What I discovered, with her help, was that I have been letting many things get in the way of my writing and that these have become excuses.

”Excuses are free, but they cost us everything.” She writes. I’ve made far too many excuses for NOT writing and it’s time to look for reasons TO write.

So here are a few of the things that have been holding me back and which I shall be improving:

* Letting myself become sidetracked. This is insidious. I have far too often let my attention wander to YouTube, or let a site I was using for research become research drift. The next thing I realize is that it an hour and a half later and I have not committed any words to screen. Yes, my ADD doesn’t help in these cases but that in turn becomes an excuse too.

I must commit myself to writing time and treat that time as if it were my livelihood. Hobbies and time with friends are great, but what am I willing to give up in order to become a published writer? More great wisdom from Kristen Lamb:

Everything is the enemy. Friends and family will want you to keep being the maid and the taxi and the babysitter and the buddy who can spend all day shoe-shopping. Many of us will try to keep being Everything to everyone and we’ll just try to “fit in” writing, but that is the lie that will kill the dream. We can’t be Everything!

* I am too emotionally invested in my job.  And what makes no sense is that I hate what I do for a living. Being a factory hand is great line of work for some but not me. I am a writer. Negative emotional attachment to my job saps my energy and creativity. I must learn to let go. As cliche as it sounds, I must treat the place where I work as if it doesn’t exist when I leave the employee gate at shift change.

Along with that I should allow myself to use vacation time for the sole purpose of writing. A working vacation that I enjoy.

* Tame the inner critic. This is a huge one for me. I think that I am like many writers when I allow my inner critic to run roughshod over what I know is good storytelling, beating myself up to the point where I think to myself, “I’ll put this aside for now and come back to it when I have some better ideas.” Again here, far too often I’ve allowed this to become a fear that I am not now nor ever will be “good enough”.

Change truly is never easy. But these are the biggest changes I need to make to be a writer professionally. It’s nice to have the potential to be a professional writer but potential means nothing without commitment and a big part of that is the commitment to one’s self to make positive change.